Lifelong learning at UEH: Towards a Sustainable University

28 December, 2021

Industrial Revolution 4.0 with advanced and outstanding development in information, science and technology has created significant changes in the life of each individual and the entire working social organizational structure. The use of information and communication technologies (ICT), especially computers and Internet, has made the provision of information no longer dependent on time and space. Industry 4.0 also creates challenges for the workforce. In the context of globalization and global workforce growth, the challenges from Industry 4.0 should be addressed through lifelong learning.

Within this lifelong learning context, governments of many countries around the world have implemented many educational reform measures to make lifelong learning as part of national education policies with diverse attempts to issue guidelines, actions and policies so as to encourage and support their citizens towards improving personal skills and knowledge through lifelong learning. Along with global development trend, Vietnamese Politburo has affirmed that building a lifelong learning citizen model is an urgent task to be performed to meet Industry 4.0 requirements. In accordance with this task, our Government issues Decision No. 749/QD-TTg dated on June 30th, 2020 and points out that awareness plays a decisive role in digital transformation and Vietnamese residents are at the center of digital transformation; in which, lifelong learning is considered as one decisive core value because of the effects towards society in fast changes on people’s perceptions with high efficiency.

Multidisciplinary and Sustainable UEH University

After 45 years of establishment and development, University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City (UEH) has been implementing a restructuring strategy into a multidisciplinary and sustainable UEH University to meet the needs of national economic development, contributing to the spread of knowledge, civilization and comprehensive educational values ​​to the community in the direction of international integration in education and training.

Nguyễn Văn Linh Campus – UEH

On the foundation of 17 Sustainable Development Goals of UNESCO by 2030 (SDGs), UEH has identified contribution to the sustainable future of the community and the society as UEH destination comprising 5 strategic pillars as follows: training, research, community, governance and operations. In terms of sustainable training aspect, UEH is oriented to educate learners with full skills and high professional qualifications as well as capability of becoming a generation of global citizens who act for the development of a sustainable life. Since then, strategic goals for sustainable training have also been established, focusing on quality education, learning from practice, building lifelong learning capabilities as well as accessing multidisciplinary training and empowerment activeness for learners.

Lifelong learning in Industry 4.0

Lifelong learning can be accomplished through education at home, school, work and anywhere with the aid of educational and communication technology tools. Lifelong learning provides an equal educational environment of opportunity, regardless of age, space and time for learners to pursue and persevere in learning. Through self-directed learning, learners take responsibility for their own learning from identifying learning needs, learning goals, determining available resources to participate in learning, choosing and implementing study plans that are right for you. A lifelong learning mindset will help individuals achieve better academic results and promote more success in their careers.

UEH learners are trained to become global citizens for sustainable development.

In this digital era, where the economic and social environment is dynamic, flexible and innovative, the workforce needs to continue to develop and renew their skills and knowledge to keep up with ITC non-stop advancements, especially in business sector – a field strongly influenced by 4.0 Industrial Revolution. In this context, lifelong learning plays a decisive role in an individual’s career success. Lifelong learning has received opportunities due to digital world development, specifically, ICT has supported lifelong learning to be more active, learners can arrange their own learning actively; online communication form becomes an effective means of interaction in learning; impacts from online learning tools; listing as: (LMS), social media, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and game-based learning tools (Kahoot, Quiz Game) that create exciting innovations in learning. However, the digital world creates challenges for lifelong learning. First, constantly-changing technology requires workers to apply a lot of skills and to learn new skills regularly, leading to a rapid decline in labor productivity after peaking, leading to a shorter working age in terms of knowledge element compared to that of biological working age. Second, new technology tends to polarize work. Although technology can free up human labor, fully-automated processes make the number of workers redundant, eventually, workers lose their jobs and their growth is stunted. Third, digital technology offers great economic potential; nevertheless, the value of digital technology can only be realized when businesses and employees have access to it.

Lifelong learning at UEH University

From the role and the meaning of lifelong learning, especially, in the current period of digital transformation, with the goal of a sustainable university, UEH has built and implemented solutions to develop learners’ ability regarding lifelong learning.

One typical self-learning corner at UEH Smart Library

In terms of the training program: UEH has been implementing strategies to fundamentally and comprehensively innovate education and training. At UEH, training programs and textbooks have been always updating with the latest publications from famous universities in TOP 200 of the world; consequently, helping learners to accumulate modern theoretical knowledge in accordance with international standards. In addition, UEH integrates our programs with those from international professional associations, helping learners to have both in-depth theoretical knowledge and proficient practical skills to achieve international practice certificates, right their learning time at UEH. These synchronous measures create conditions to improve the quality of human resources, meeting the needs of businesses and society. UEH also opens up various additional opportunities for learners through our multi-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary training program for many ages and levels, from business, economics, law, state management to technology and design.

In terms of teaching method: The teaching method applied at UEH has an effective combination of online learning and learner-centered approach, helping to enhance learners’ lifelong learning. In particular, UEH is applying ‘blend classroom’ and ‘hybrid classroom’ methods in teaching. This method helps learners’ learning and research process always be maintained continuously and effectively, overcoming all barriers of space, time, and current epidemics, as well as helping learners with easy access to online learning resources.

In terms of facilities and learning support policies: UEH, in order to support learners to be ready for Industry 4.0 and to develop ICT competencies for study and career, has fully prepared the infrastructure system with modern technology for learners’ learning and research activities. During their study at UEH, learners are able to experience a modern learning environment, including a smart classroom system that combines ICT devices and applications for teaching and learning with a system of practice room and simulation room.

To be able to develop lifelong learning, learners must be equipped with study and research skills, self-study skills, creative ways of learning; in which, the library is the ideal environment for any learner to learn for new knowledge self-accumulation, especially with the current rapid development of science and technology. Understanding this requirement, UEH has developed a smart library (Smart Library), including Open educational resources (OER) as well as copyrighted academic database sources with the purpose of convenience creation for learners in exploiting and sharing documents, serving their learning and research process.

What is more, UEH develops a financial support policy to help learners afford to pay and maintain lifelong learning: study encouragement scholarships, study support scholarships for disadvantaged students, business-sponsored scholarships, unexpected support scholarships for learners affected by COVID-19 pandemic and study credit packages.

Being well aware of the need to develop lifelong learning to adapt to the diverse and volatile environment of Industry 4.0, UEH has focused on investing and building facilities in order to create favorable conditions and develop learners’ lifelong learning ability. UEH always accompanies Vietnamese Government towards building a learning society with lifelong learning skills for our national sustainable development.

Author group: Dr. Trần Anh Hoa, Dr. Phạm Trà Lam, Dr. Đậu Thị Kim Thoa, MSc. Trần Thị Phương Thanh (Accounting Department – UEH School of Management)

This paper is in Series of spreading research and applied knowledge from UEH, we would like to invite distinguished readers to look forward to Newsletter ECONOMY NUMBER #21 “LIFELONG LEARNING IN DIGITAL WORLD: PERSPECTIVE FROM ACCOUNTING AND AUDITING OCCUPATIONS”.

News, photos: Author group, UEH Department of Marketing – Communication.